The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

So I had a thought about Necromancers...

Usually, one thinks of the opposite or natural foe of a Necromancer as being some sort of white mage or cleric (or sometimes paladin).

But what if the natural enemy of the Necromancer is the Bard?

In combat there’s no contest, but the secret of bards is they weave the big magic, they weave the story-magic and the song-spell. And when a dwarven mine collapses or a dragon scours a city or the Edmund Fitzgerald wrecks in a storm there’s a bard there to weave a mournful folk-song about the event. 

The bard’s song or tale memorializes the lost but it also binds the event into a tale, the wild chaos of life and death tamed by the structure of narrative and verse. All sealed with an ending and reinforced by the retelling. 

And when the Necromancer pulls forth his scepter of bone and calls to the souls of the lost to rise in his service, he receives no answer. The dead do not rise because that’s not how the story ends. Too many people have heard it. Too many voices have sung it. The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

Even as a kid, I had this fascination with tragedies and disasters. I read all about wrecks like the Titanic, the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Hindenburg. Stories from the Holocaust drew me like a magnet. I go through these periods where I read up on 9/11, Columbine, Hiroshima… eyewitness accounts, survivor stories. A John Lennon fan, I even researched John Lennon’s murder in great detail.

You may think I’m morbid. But I don’t feel that way at all when I spend time with these stories. Reading about them doesn’t bring me any kind of twisted pleasure. Nor do I read them to depress myself, because they don’t exactly depress me, either. Yes, they make me shudder, they make me cry. They make me feel the pain of the people. But through all of that, there is a certain catharsis. And maybe that’s what I’m after.

I think I look for tragic stories because I already carry within me a deep well of awareness about the world around me, and that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know there is tragedy in our world, and ignoring that fact seems like living a lie, like denying myself the full spectrum of feeling, as though I am barely alive.

To me, there is something much more true and real and healing about staying in touch with the tragedies of our mortal story. Better to stare disaster and darkness and death in the face than pretend none of it exists, none of it affects me. Once I have acknowledged the sorrow, the horror, the pain, then I can acknowledge the good that precedes, surrounds, infuses everything.

Tragedies, after all, should bring the mortal family together. They challenge us to remember that ultimately, we are one family, and that the life we share together here is precious, and that, as a certain Jack Dawson once said, we ought to make it count.

Every moment, every life, matters. Not just the moments between the bow of the Titanic and the iceberg. Not just the lives lost in the Holocaust. But everyone. Everything. All of it deserves to be valued, treasured, loved, and protected. All of it is beautiful, and to me, that is what tragedy ultimately highlights: not the ugliness, but the beauty of life.


The Edmund Fitzgerald Remembered

40 years ago, on November 10, 1975, the cargo ship Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm in Lake Superior near Whitefish Point off the coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There are several theories as to what may have caused the ship to sink in a flash, but the actual reason will likely never be known. The remains of the 29 crew members were never recovered.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Gordon Lightfoot
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Here’s a blast from the bast! This was in one of my 3rd grade music class books. My whole class had to sing it, I figured it was just some song some school company wrote. Well, it was good back then, and it’s good now. 


Came on the radio during the drive home. This song never fails to give me goosebumps…

A map of shipwrecks in Lake Superior

Lake Superior in Michigan, USA has the most shipwrecks, comparative to its size. If you were to combine all of the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, they would have more shipwrecks than all of the other bodies of water in the world combined. The Caribbean may have claimed many wrecks in the Golden Age of Piracy, but the Great Lakes have continued to increase their numbers well into the 20th century. The Edmund Fitzgerald, a wreck immortalized in a Gordon Lightfoot song, went down in Lake Superior in November 1975. The USS Mesquite, the most recent sinking, ran aground in December 1989. This wreck is still preserved and is available for divers to explore.

November 10, 1975:  The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.  Launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, and remains the largest to have sunk there.

Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” after reading an article, “The Cruelest Month”, in the November 24, 1975, issue of Newsweek. The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels. (wikipedia)

Photo: Edmund Fitzgerald, 1971 (Wikimedia Commons)

Music Ask

Tagged by @greek-praetor

Rules: List 10 songs you’re currently vibing to + tag 10 people

1. “Killer” by The Ready Set
2. “Time for Tea” by Emilie Autumn
3. “Monster” by Skillet
4. “Take Me To Church” by Hozier
5. “Rock Show” by Halestorm
6. “American Boys” by Halestorm
7. “American Horse With No Name” by America
8. “Back in the USSR” by the Beatles
9. “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
10. The Boogie Man’s song from Nightmare Before Christmas 

Do it if you want, don’t if you don’t


Does anyone know where the love of God goes

when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

On November 10th 1975 the 729 foot long ore carrier Edmond Fitzgerald went down in a hurricane like storm that had 80 mph winds and 25 foot waves with rouge waves as high as 35 feet. Battered by the storm the Fitzgerald was trying to reach the safety of Whitefish Bay. 

The last message from the Fitzgerald was from the captain who radioed, “We are holding our own.” Minutes later the Fitzgerald vanished from radar. No distress call was given. She was only 17 miles from Whitefish Bay. Now she lies 530 feet down at the bottom of Lake Superior along with her crew of 29.

Enjoy this wonderfully touching story song, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lightfoot (1976)

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumme

Superior, they said, never gives up her dead

When the gales of November come early.